Defence Against Drones?

Anti drone system from Chess Dynamics.

SHAH ALAM: Defence against drones? Within the last few years especially in Syria, we have seen the use of commercial drones to conduct attacks on military and non-military in what is described as another form of asymmetric warfare.
Just two days ago it was reported that the Russian military thwarts an attack on an airbase.

From BBC.

Russian forces have foiled a drone attack on an airbase in Syria just days after reports that rebel shelling had damaged several planes, activists say.The attempt to bomb the Hmeimim base near the north-western city of Latakia on Saturday was thwarted when unmanned aircraft were shot down, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports.
Two Russian servicemen were killed when the base was attacked on 31 December. The coastal Hmeimim airbase is at the core of Russia’s war effort in Syria. On Saturday the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based monitoring group, said the base was targeted by drones belonging to an “Islamist faction” operating in the area, citing sources. No casualties or details of damage to the airbase have yet been reported, the SOHR added.The drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), used in the attempted attack were basic in design, Russian news site Lenta reports.The UAVs featured an engine taped to a wooden frame, which carried two “home-made mines”, it added.

A drone fitted with explosives captured in Syria.

And this is not limited to Syria or the Middle East.

From Popular Mechanics.

A drone carrying a grenade infiltrated an ammunition dump in Ukraine, setting off an explosion that caused an astounding billion dollars worth of damage. The incident points to the growing use of drones in wartime, particularly off the shelf civilian products harnessed to conduct sabotage and other attacks.

Ukraine’s domestic intelligence service, the SBU, believes that a drone carrying a Russian thermite hand grenade caused a series of titanic explosions at Balakliya, a military base in Eastern Ukraine. Amateur video of the incident posted on YouTube shows a raging fire spewing out of control artillery rockets, and an explosion and shockwave that sent civilians nearby reeling.One person was killed in the attack and five were injured.

Anti drone system from Chess Dynamics.

These two reports are clear examples of how cheap, easily available civilian drones could be used to attack important and highly sensitive targets such military camps and airbases. It is interesting to note that most of our concerns are physical intrusions – for what ever purpose – into these facilities.

From Think Defence

Sophisticated military unmanned systems are expensive and it is this that puts them out of reach of many of our potential enemies but when those potential enemies can buy one from Amazon for hundreds of dollars then the specification difference between proper military systems and remote control toys becomes of decreasing relevance, their very lack of sophistication and low cost becomes the problem because it will drive us to counter with increasingly expensive measures

The Agusta and Blackhawk flying to Subang from Sg Besi airport. TUDM picture

Perhaps a rethink is necessary especially with reports that militants were preparing to conduct devastating attacks on Malaysian soil. And it has been stated that Malaysia has yet to become a victim of a major terrorist attack not because the lack of motivation but in fact mostly due to ineptness of the would be attackers.

It must be noted that due rapid urbanisation, most military camps and airbases are mostly just a stone throw away from public areas, therefore easily accessible. Attacks on camps and airbase had happened in the past so we cannot fooled ourselves to think that it could never happened again.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2201 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Interesting issue. How to detect & disable a remote control toy flying into restricted airspace? If can be seen and it is assumed within shotgun/sligshot range maybe if lucky can take it down. If at night, single or multiple/swarm air toys coming, can’t ID which one are armed or harmless, a problem it is.

    Maybe a way is radio jamming. But considering more and more sensitive/mil-installations in build up areas, civvies will complain of TV/radio/mobile phone interference. A double edge sword as it too can interfere with own communication.

  2. @nimitz
    The drone was reportedly not remote controlled. It was autonomous, pre-programmed with a set destination via GPS. Meaning it can avoid radio jamming as there is no operator.

  3. Malaysian police and military ammo dumps are bunkers with substantial earth berms all around, so that mitigates any risk of small explosives wrecking havoc like in Ukraine.

    As this is a very sensitive topic I hope we don’t discuss on potential targets using the drones here.

    BTW Off topic

    Our neighbor is getting some shiny new toys….

  4. Armed or not – the issue at hand is non-authorized drones has no business loitering in the restricted zones.

    Most anti-drones systems involves jamming the drones control to bring it down – doubt the military to use lethal means to bring it down when/if u hv non-lethal options.

    Lastly, that is not how signals/comms work.

  5. @ u0027

    That can be countered by using GPS jammer. I don’t think commercial drones have sophisticated INS systems yet.

    But GPS jammers will also affect public systems depending on GPS near to the jammer…

  6. Lets say don’t have any jammer, and that flying toy keep on loitering in restricted airspace, either find the human controller who has line-of-sight of the flytoy or knock the toy out using kinetics option.

    The problem with this is that its difficult to spot this things in the sky. If spotting them is difficult shooting them down is higher still. Furthermore if the drone is fitted with IED, there is still a chance that it will explode when it crashed after being shot.

  7. Off topic

    TLDM at ASEAN international fleet review–T9GiHqyUHM/Wie7qwhzWTI/AAAAAAABhQY/HJkLAuNGfeYI6sRxmpy-5icaFIH5R2VKwCEwYBhgL/s1600/23847367_1804903406217868_2726476168581970857_o.jpg

  8. A low cost solution is required, preferably low powered and can overcome non GPS non radio control with own INS. The race is on. This is the next UBER. Cmon Malaysian engineers, we can come up with world class solution. The market is global!

  9. Zaidi, you are wanting solutions to make drones more lethal suicide weapons, not to counter it.

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